For the second straight week College Crosse is lucky enough to have Brian Higgins join the blog. Higgins will call the Syracuse-Maryland game for Syracuse Radio and Orange All Access. Higgins gives his thoughts on the Quarterfinal matchups being held in Foxboro and Hempstead.
College Crosse: Lets key in on first the game you will be calling, what stands out about this Maryland team? I remember the quarterfinal match-up in 2009 and being very scared of that Terps team and the Orange didn't even give the Terps a chance. What, if anything, is different about the 2011 match up?
Brian Higgins: Sheer talent and lack of the ultimate big win jump off the page about Maryland. Grant Catalino and Ryan Young are four year starters. Joe Cummings is a sometimes unstoppable middie. And yet the Terps have lost in the quarters three years running.
Why Maryland has not been to the Final Four since 2006 is a question oft asked and hard to answer when considering talent alone. For Syracuse's sake hopefully nothing has changed since two years ago when the Orange won 11-6.
I don't foresee Syracuse getting blown out and the Orange are 7-0 this year in games decided by two or less while the Terps are just 2-3.
CC: Goalies have been a big part of the playoffs (as they always are). Which goalie MUST have a big game this weekend in order for their team to have a chance to win?
BH: Adam Ghitelman. The Cavs statistically and realistically have the worst defense remaining in the tournament. Cornell's offense has been an unstoppable menace the last two months.
Ghitelman might need 20 saves if he wants Virginia to make a fourth straight Final Four. That said he's capable of getting hot and Steele Stanwick is more than willing to supply the offense to make a big day from Ghitelman stand up.
CC: Which game are you most excited for?
BH: Of course I'm most excited for the Syracuse game, but I'll pick from the other three.
Randomly I'm least excited for the rematch of last year's national title game. I didn't find the last two Duke-Notre Dame matchups very viewer friendly despite the national title being decided in overtime.
The Cornell-UVA game potentially could be a shootout. But I'm going with Hopkins-Denver.
The Blue Jays have been playing very unHopkinslike loose and relaxed ball since leaving the Dome in March. Denver making the Final Four is potentially huge for the future of the sport. Tierney vs. Pietramala and their eight combined national titles is nothing to sneeze at. Plus the game should be pretty good to boot.
CC: Lastly, sort of tough time to call anyone a sleeper or underdog, but, biggest underdog going into this weekend’s games?
BH: Despite seemingly everyone spending the week putting Syracuse on upset alert, the biggest underdog of the weekend has to be Maryland. While I think Cornell, Hopkins and Duke will make the Final Four, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Virginia, Denver and Notre Dame show up in Baltimore.
On the other hand Syracuse is the #1 seed and playing very well. Regardless of opponent it would be shocking if the Orange and their vaunted senior class missed the Final Four. Therefore Maryland has to be the biggest underdog mainly due to opponent.